Back from Canada
One morning I didn't get to sleep till nearly 5am. Good to know I can still do that, and with surprisingly few ill effects.
A few odd things about Canada.
Some of the men's rooms I encountered had a feature I've never seen anywhere in the world. There were the normal stalls for the sit-down potty, but they also featured a stall for a pair of urinals, placed next to each other. Apparently in Canada you (assuming you're male) and a friend can urinate side-by-side in privacy.
I asked my (Canadian) former editor John Douglas about this. "It's for privacy," he said.
"But," I asked, "how can it be private with two urinals right next to each other?"
"You have to understand," said John, "that many of our ancestors came from Scotland, and that we are cheap."
Okay, got it.
During the trip, I also got to taste "neo-Canadian cuisine." Which, you will be relieved to know, does not involve poutine. At its worst, it's a smallish, perhaps even tiny, amount of protein balanced against a tower of roast vegetables and splattered with a sweet, cloying berry reduction sauce. At its best, it features wonderfully flavored, tender proteins, such as AAA Alberta beef, matched with an appropriately tangy, interesting berry sauce.
At any rate, berries are certainly involved.
Having voted before I left, I was also hoping to get away from the exhausting American election, which was slowly and surely turning my brain into oatmeal. But whenever I turned on the CBC news, practically all their news had to do with Obama vs. McCain. They were obsessed with their neighbor to the south. Canada had just got a brand-new government of its own, and they damn well didn't care. You had to look in the back pages of the newspaper for that.
I happened to catch the swearing-in of the new ministers, and I noted that the oath delves unexpectedly into the state of their souls. American government officials just swear to do the job, but Canadians have to sincerely swear, and that they will render their opinions faithfully, honestly, and truly. And then they have to repeat the whole thing in French.
In thanks for the wonderful hospitality I experienced in Canada, I'd like to close with a link to this splendid video featuring the Canadian national anthem.